At FOSS4G last week, my colleagues and I got chatting with the folks from OSGEO. It was difficult not to, given that they played such a huge part in organising the conference. Anyhow, we identified that it would be a good idea to set up a UK Local Chapter, to provide a UK-specific focus and slant on the work that OSGEO are doing. The kind of things we might look at include providing a first port-of-call to newcomers to the world of geomatics in the UK, with a particular focus on the open source tools available; providing a focus for lobbying for public access to Geodata (you know, the stuff we’ve paid for with our Taxes but have to pay again to use).
FOSS4G Day 3. Fantastically inspiring lectures on Open Source Spatial Data Infrastructures, which is just what we (in an Oxford Archaeology sense) are looking for. Time to go back and re-evaluate a lot of these products, which are maybe two major releases further on, and a great deal more developed and sophisticated, than last time I looked. Prize for the most exciting new product of the conference (IMHO) goes to MapChat- which the conference abstract describes as “a prototype web-based tool for synchronous multi-user communication via a mab interface”.
Soooo, yesterday was FOSS4G 2006 Day Two, and the key point of interest for me was the interaction between the old-school learning-intensive traditional approach to GIS with the “anything goes” Google Mashup approach. Several of yesterday’s speakers acknowledged the undeniable debt that web-based mapping has towards Google for lowering the barriers and raising the profile of the discipline, but some also pointed out that often this means abandoning core ideas in GIS such as coordinate systems, because you don’t need this knowledge to create a mashup.
Well, today was day one of the FOSS4G conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. I’m a bit of a conference n00b, having only made it to UK events in the past, and certainly nothing of this size or calibre. So, couple that with the fact that I’ve forgotten most of my school french or german vocab and it’s been a learning experience! The workshops that I attended today were on MapGuide Open Source, which was what I was concentrating on when I signed up but I think I would rather have attended the workshop on PostGIS instead of the Introduction to MapGuide Open Source this morning.